Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander remembers when great players wanted to play for him.
It was when a healthy Yao Ming was patrolling the paint for the Rockets.
"When we had Yao I would go to a game and star players would look at me, stare at me all the time, because they wanted to play with Yao," Alexander said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.
"I can't tell you who the players are, but they would stare at me and then players would actually sit next to me, next to my seat, just to let me know that they wanted to play for the Rockets and then we lost Yao.
"It's become a league more now with players wanting to play with each other who are great and so we need to get back to that ability.
And Alexander has great faith that general manager Daryl Morey can turn the Rockets into a destination point for great players.
Last year he gave Morey a new five-year contract, giving his general manager the time needed to get the job done.
"I think he's doing a very good job," Alexander said. "I think he's making trades that are improving us all the time. He's willing to take risks. I think he does smart things.
"He's very decisive which is very important to me. I think he understands how to trade and what value is and he's not looking just for this year or this moment as a lot of people do. A lot of general managers and a lot of coaches just think about the next three months because they're worried about their job. I think he has a very long-term perspective. He's always told me he's not afraid to be fired, which I think is great for him and great for me."
Alexander also believes the Rockets have the right coach in Kevin McHale, who just finished his first season in Houston.
"I think Kevin would say the same thing as I have, he learned in the first year," Alexander said. "I think it was a difficult year, a transition year. When you go from one coach to another coach, players like some things the other coach did. I think he has to learn our ways as an organization. I think he's a smart guy and he's willing to learn and willing to produce and I think players respect him and want to play for him.
"He's a great leader of men. I think he understands the game well and tries to implement what he knows."
Missing the playoffs the past three seasons has not been easy for Alexander, who won NBA championships (1994 & 1995) during the first two years he owned the franchise.
"You know what the summit is and you always want to be at the summit and I thought we had a prescription for that when we brought in Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley and I thought we were going to go back to the championship again," Alexander said.
"Instead John Stockton hit that three pointer right in front of me, when Karl Malone was holding Clyde Drexler, and that bummed the crap out of me and it's been a little downhill from there."
The Rockets also thought they had the foundation to win championships when they had Yao and Tracy McGrady together.
"The message is don't let your stars get injured," Alexander said. "If we had Yao or with Tracy it would have been a different story completely and I think Daryl gets a lot of heat, but I think he's doing a good job getting us assets to move up and eventually we'll be back on the top again."
Alexander said his organization is clearly headed in the right direction.
"I'm very happy with that," Alexander said. I'm not happy with the results, but it's early in our transition."
Alexander is referring to the fact that it has only been one full season since Yao retired.
"if you adjust for position in the draft, Daryl has been the number one drafter in the NBA," Alexander said.
"We have six or seven analysts and they're all spending hours, hundreds and hundreds of hours, deciding who the best players are. So since we are so good at it, I'm very excited to see the players we get, how they perform next year.
"It's going to be an interesting season because we are going to probably bring in a bunch of young people.
To me it's one of the most exciting seasons in a long time."
And Alexander said he and Morey will do everything they can to add a star player to the franchise before the upcoming season.
"We're trying to get the best players that are out there," Alexander said. "I think Houston is an attractive place.
"A lot of players live here in the offseason. So I think we have a good chance to get very good players."
"It's going to be an interesting season because we are going to probably bring in a bunch of young people."
Same old BS. Everyone Les employs is the best in the league, that's of course why we suck every year. Even when we had the most talented team ever assembled it didn't quite work out so well. Sell the team, Les. Spare us the destruction of our beloved franchise.
Man, I wish les would sell the team, he is the number 1 reason this team is stuck in mediocrity.
Lesocrity is where the Rockets are right now.
That's the feeling I'm getting.
My gut tells me that Morey WANTS to tank, but Les wants to Win Now.
This of course pulls the team in two different directions, and we get stuck on the Mediocrity Treadmill.
I'm starting to wonder if Donald Sterling will sell the Junk before Les sells the Rockets...if I had a job at the moment, I'd bet you $10 in Tipjar money that Donald sells first. But I don't, so no bet.
Junk = Clippers...I started calling them that when they tried to keep Clipper Darrell from being Clipper Darrell. I respect that fan--he's the kind of fan every team should have.
Maybe Les will actually let us tank this year! It's an encouraging first step. Now Daryl needs to trade off the veterans and get McHale to stop his whining about the lack of leadership if he wants to keep his job.
I don't know what it is, an insane beard.